Tenor guitars are a study in punch, clarity and tonal complexity. If you’re not convinced, listen to the early recordings of the Delmore brothers. Young Rabon Delmore’s tenor sings out in the melody parts and provides a clear, brilliant rhythm section.

Because tenors have relatively little tension on the soundboard (the strings exert about 85 pounds compared to about 150 pounds on a six-string guitar), and cover a relatively smaller range, the builder can squeeze tons of sound out of these little boxes.

My tenor design was based on a much-loved Gibson TG-0, pictured above, that we bought years ago from Lloyd Snow of Onawa, Iowa. It’s a great example of how cool tenors can sound and look, and also of how closely early tenors were related to tenor banjos. Of course, I’ve made a number of changes to make this model my own.